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New NCLEX-RN pass date for assessment of internationally educated RN applicants

At its June meeting, CNO’s Council approved a new cut-off date for passing the NCLEX-RN exam as a way for internationally educated RN applicants to show they have the knowledge, skill and judgment needed to meet the education requirement. The new date is April 1, 2013.

This decision was informed by evidence and feedback about the previous decision made in March that the cut-off date would be January 1, 2015.

This means that any RN applicant who successfully completed the NCLEX-RN between April 1, 2013 and January 1, 2015 will now meet the education requirement, along with those who passed on or after January 1, 2015.

So, what informed this decision?

Internationally educated RNs are legally required to possess knowledge, skill, judgment reflective of the RN entry-to-practice competencies that are at least equivalent to those of current graduates from approved baccalaureate degree nursing programs.

It is important to note that being current is a key component of this legal requirement. This helps to ensure newly registered nurses are prepared to practice safely and competently to meet the present and evolving needs of patients and practice settings.

Although the most recent RN entry-to-practice competencies were implemented in 2020, the previous (2014) competencies reflect what external assessors (such as NNAS and Touchstone Institute) use to assess the education of applicants. As the entry-to-practice competencies changes over time, Ontario nursing programs, assessment tools, exam blueprints, and other impacted processes must be updated. We set April 1, 2013 as the revised cut-off date to be fair to applicants while accommodating the time that external assessors need to update their assessment processes. The 2014 competencies are also reflected in the NCLEX-RN test plan, which has been in use since April 2013.

This decision is only the beginning of our ongoing work to meet our 2021-2024 Strategic Plan outcome that applicants for registration will experience processes that are evidence-informed, fair, inclusive and effective, contributing to improved public access to safe nursing care. Over the next four years, we will continue to make changes to our processes to meet this objective.

For more information, read FAQs: NCLEX-RN as educational requirement for IENs.

Page last reviewed June 04, 2021